Friday, April 27, 2007

Low-priced comidas with style

I eat out several times a week in Guanajuato. Among the restaurants I like are:

EL MIDI: Good for hot weather, as all its South of France dishes are served cold. This buffet style restaurant, owned and run by Veronique, has tables inside and outside in San Fernando Plaza. You choose your own portion size here. Veronique charges per $9.50 (pesos) per hundred grams, with a typical meal between $30-40 (pesos). Most of the dishes are vegetarian but there is usually something for carnivores, for example potato puree wrapped in ham. El Midi is also known for its agua frescas such as strawberry-guava and lime-cucumber and oh yes, Veronique's tortes. Open noon-6 weekdays.

EL BURLADERO: If you like eating where the locals eat, but where the menu usually has more class, try this restaurant just beyond the bronze statue of popular singer Jorge Negrete on Manuel Doblado (nearly to the Cervantes Theater). The owner-cook, Juan Jose, offers two choices for each of the first three courses: soup, salad (a specialty), main course (may be homemade pasta; usually small). Dessert (often homemade)) is also included and either bread or tortillas, and the agua of the day. $30 pesos, Monday through Friday, serves the comida from about noon to 5pm. Pullfight posters on the walls. In case you're wondering, a burladero is the part of the bullring where the toreros stand for safety before entering the ring. Apt because the restaurant is where buses make a sharp turn.

LA TORTA DE SANCHO PANZA; Across from the Diego Rivera Museum. Students start filling up the several rooms of this restaurant about 2:00 so that it's best to go about 1:30. One generous glass of the agua of the day, choice of four soups, then a plate with a generous main course and spaghetti or rice plus a little salad. Simple dessert such as gelatina. Main course choices range from acelgas-wrapped cheese (called a torta) to their pork in guajillo, spicy but not super-hot. If you're lucky you can distance yourself from TV. When you leave, you'll be pleasantly full. $25.

YAMUNA; Hindu-style vegetarian restaurant. The meal begins with a substantial dal-vegetable soup and goes on to salad, main dish, rice (sometimes Basmati), main dish such as cauliflower fritters, dessert such as fruit or fruit-flavored yoghurt, and agua fresca served in stemmed glasses. Tableclothes. $40 pesos. On Calle del Sol, one block up from the Post Office.

LA FONDA ANTIGUA: On Avenida Juarez near Bancomer on the first floor. Sra. Letitia creates a pleasant atmosphere where you'll be surrounded by old books about Cuba and French cooking while eating traditional Mexican food. Soups especially good. 30 pesos.

EL ABUE: Graham Gori's restaurantjust above the Baratillo where you see a double set of steps, expensive at night or on weekends, serves a $40 peso comida during the week. His A,erican-style vegetable soup, followed by a generous salad and main dish. Agua fresca, often Jamaica. A restful place with soft music, lightcolored tables and chairs. Good service. Graham is proud of his apple pie served with ice-cream, an extra that weighs in at nearly the price of the comida.

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